Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has suggested it could be difficult for his club if Harry Kane follows an example set previously by Luka Modric and Gareth Bale and asks for a move to Real Madrid.
Kane’s 56 goals across the calendar year in 2017, more than either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi managed, has seen the 24-year-old reportedly emerge as a possible summer target for Madrid president Florentino Perez. He was also favoured in a recent Marca poll of Blancos fans as their preferred replacement for much-criticised current No. 9 Karim Benzema.
This has led to reports in the UK press that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is ready to break the club’s rigid wage structure and offer Kane £200,000-a-week. That would make him the highest-paid Englishman in the game, although that figure is still well below the reported £350,000 a week taken home by Wales international Bale.
Speaking to Spanish TV show “El Chiringuito de Jugones,” Pochettino recalled that Tottenham had been unable to stop Modric and Bale forcing through moves to Madrid in the past, but said he hoped Kane would stay for “many years” and hopefully win some trophies at his current club.
“If a player asks you to leave, as happened with Modric and Bale at that time… we will see what happens,” Pochettino said. “That has not happened as of yet. As someone responsible for a club like Tottenham, I would say if Real Madrid came, we would not want to sell him. He would stay here and he would have to understand.
“I hope that Harry Kane can be here for many years, and can celebrate many goals and triumphs and win some trophies, which is what we want.”
Some reports have claimed that Bale, 28, could return to north London as part of a deal taking Kane in the other direction, although Pochettino appeared to think it unlikely the Wales international could be persuaded to return to his former club.
“I don’t think [Bale] is a realistic option for Tottenham,” he said.
Pochettino has often been talked about as a future Real Madrid coach himself, with Perez reportedly a fan of his work, and the Argentine himself speaking last autumn about his good personal relationship with the Bernabeu chief.
Asked if he could imagine himself in the Bernabeu dugout, the former Espanyol player and coach said that if he praised Madrid it did not necessarily mean he was pushing himself forward for the job.
“The truth is no,” he said. “Any other manager today of this level could be asked the same question, whether Pochettino wants to coach Real Madrid. [They might say] he talks well of Madrid as he wants to go to Madrid someday, but the truth is I do not think that way.”
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan